Challenging Verbs: Lie/Lay

Lie: to lie (yourself) down. I lie down on my bed when I am tired. Lay: to lay something else down. I lay down my backpack in the hallway when I get home. Present PresentParticiple Past Past Participle Lie (self) lie lying lay lain Lay (object) lay laying laid laid Notice that the transitive verb (the one you do to an […]

Hard to Find Subjects

Questions and Emphatic Statements Sometimes the subject of a sentence can be hard to find. In a question, the subject usually comes between the helping verb and the main verb. To find the subject, keep all the words from the question and turn it into a declarative sentence. Did you decide to keep that puppy?You did decide to keep that puppy. Here and There Even […]

Indefinite Pronouns

This lesson will help you learn how to make indefinite pronouns and verbs agree. When people talk, they often use the wrong verb, but in writing, it’s important to use the correct one. You’ll need to pay attention to whether the pronoun is singular or plural. Singular Pronouns These pronouns always require a singular verb: another anybody […]

Fractions and Percentages

Percentages and fractions can be plural or singular. Just like in the last lesson, the verb you choose will depend on whether you’re talking about a total amount or multiple units. There are several ways to figure out whether to use a singular or plural verb. Often, if the word that follows the fraction or […]

Agreement: Money, Time, and Measurements

Money, time, and measurements can be plural or singular. If the focus of your sentence is a total amount, use a singular verb. If the focus of your sentence is on multiple units, use a plural verb. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell whether to use a singular or plural verb, but there’s an easy way […]

Agreement: Proper Nouns

Different types of proper nouns follow different agreement rules. Names of Companies and Organizations Organization and company names are similar to collective nouns, and they typically take singular verbs even though they refer to a group. The World Health Organization has worked hard to eradicate smallpox.Toyota builds very reliable cars. Team Names After reading all of this information about collective […]

Agreement: Titles of Creative Works

Sometimes a publication or movie, or a work of literature, art, or music has a plural noun or pronoun in the title. This makes it seem like you should use a plural verb, but if you’re talking about only one work, use a singular verb. The New York Times has been around since 1851.The Hunger Games is my favorite book. […]

Agreement: Nouns that End in s

Some nouns end in s even though they are considered singular. These include words such as mathematics, civics, measles, news, physics, mumps, and molasses. Physics is my favorite class.The mumps is a very painful illness. Other nouns that end in s, such as scissors, acoustics, pants, trousers, and shorts, are plural and always take a plural verb. These scissors are mine.Josh’s pants are getting too short. Note: If the phrase pair of comes before a noun ending in s, always use a singular verb, even […]

Agreement: Collective Nouns

Collective nouns name a group, so it can be difficult to tell whether to use a singular or plural verb. In American English, these nouns are typically singular, but sometimes they can be plural if you’re referring to the individuals in the group rather than the group as a whole. When the group acts as a […]

Agreement: Subjects with And, Or, or Nor

As you saw in Module 3, Lesson 1, a sentence is like a car, with a noun or pronoun as the driver (the subject) and a verb as the engine. Subjects and verbs must agree with each other in number—if the subject is singular, the verb will be singular, and if the subject is plural, the […]